Hi and thanks for checking out this fanfic! I've been wanting to write a Hex Girls fanfic for a long time, and I'm so excited to finally be doing it! For those of you that have read previous works by me, you know I can get a bit silly at times. However, this fanfic is going to strike a completely different tone. This story is going to be much darker and edgier than anything else I've written in the past.
Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it!
The crowd screamed in anticipation as the last word of the song left Thorn's lips.
While the idea of thousands of people clapping for you, shouting your name, even offering marriage proposals which may or may not have been serious would either terrify or delight the common person, this was nothing new to The Hex Girls. This was just a normal night.
After rising to fame following their performance at the Vampire Rock Music Festival, The Hex Girls became accustomed to the rockstar life. They went on tour all the time, mingled with the social elite, and of course, had thousands of adoring fans.
Thorn personally loved the popularity and being appreciated for her music. She liked almost every aspect of fame, and the aspects she didn't, she could easily ignore.
Hookups with groupies? No thanks. Drugs? Nah, she was clean. Marriage proposals? Go fuck yourself, because you're probably just horny.
Thorn continued to bask in the spotlight, bathing in the glory of having thousands of people scream in excitement for her at once.
And then she woke up.
Upon returning to reality, Thorn realized that her life was nothing like that which she experienced in her dream. Yes, thankfully, she was still in a band and pursuing what she loved most: music. However, there were no screaming fans, no all-expenses-paid flights to perform in exotic locations, and no fame.
Sally McKnight, better known by her stage name Thorn, got out of bed and stretched. The perky goth ran her hands through her black hair, her fingers lightly glossing over the small red streak as they swooshed through it.
Thorn's eyes scanned the room groggily, as she slowly reoriented herself from her afternoon nap. The room was painted an ugly salmon color which she loathed, but given she lived in an apartment, she couldn't exactly paint the wall a different color. On the optimistic side, she did like the salmon color better than the boring shade of white that the rest of the walls in the apartment were. Despite this minor dislike, the room otherwise very much looked like Thorn. The walls were adorned with posters of various gothy bands, including Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus and The Cure. She also had her very own desk, where she could write songs or draw in her bedroom if she wished. The desk was littered with a few pens and pencils, as well as a pad of paper and a book about Wicca. She always intended to read the damn thing given she identified as a Wiccan, and had a deep interest in spirituality and energies, but she never seemed to get around to it. She'd never quite gotten into Wicca as her mother, who was a devout practitioner of the religion.
Thorn went out to the kitchen to see if her two roommates were ready for tonight's show. She was still getting used to living away from home, given the 18-year-old had just moved out from her dad's house a few months ago when she graduated high school. Her father was the town pharmacist and could afford a lavish house, so naturally Thorn considered her new run-down apartment a large downgrade from what she had with her dad. Besides the physical comforts of her dad's house, she'd built a deep bond with her father ever since her mom's tragic death, which admittedly made it even harder to move away. The girls had already asked the landlord for the water pipes and the heat to be fixed in their short few months there. The place was also just generally small. Besides a kitchen with the most basic of amenities, including a microwave, oven, fridge and sink, the only other space the girls had in addition to their individual rooms was a small living space, and of course a bathroom. Thorn supposed perhaps this was just how young adults her age had to live. She never really saw the tenants who lived in the other three rooms in the building, however, so she had no way to confirm this theory.
The big upside of being out on her own, however, was getting to live with her two best friends, Kimberly Jameson and Jane Bellaveaux, better known by their stage names Luna and Dusk, respectively. Thorn and Dusk had known each other since they were young kids, as their parents were close friends. Luna, on the other hand, wasn't someone they met until they were 14, when Thorn's father recommended Thorn and Dusk go to band camp to explore her musical talent, so they could see if it was something they would be interested in having a career in. Given her strong interest in music, Luna was also attending the same band camp. Thorn and Dusk immediately hit it off with her, and well, the rest was history.
Together, they made up The Hex Girls, a local band who lived in the small town of Oakhaven. While the girls were asked to play shows in public, it was usually in places like some dive bar or a coffee shop during their "live music" night. Tonight, the girls were asked to play a show at Jack's Restaurant. It wasn't exactly living the high life, but at least they weren't playing in some dark, dingy bar where drunken guys were hitting on them.
"Are you almost ready, Luna?" Thorn sassed. "Other people would like to use the bathroom."
"Yes, geez!" Luna rolled her eyes playfully. "So impatient."
The orange-haired Hex Girl vacated the bathroom, taking her makeup kit with her.
"Hurry it up, Thorn. We've got to leave for the show in 15 minutes." Dusk, who apparently just entered the room, reminded her.
"I'm trying! I just got in the bathroom!" Thorn sighed, applying her eyeliner.
"Hey, I just looked at the set list, and why is 'Hex Girl' last? I thought it was first." Dusk complained.
"We wanted to put it last so people would associate our band name with our performance." Thorn explained. "Brand recognition, you know?"
"I thought we wanted to start off strong by shoving our identity right in people's faces." Dusk counterargued.
From that little debate, an outsider might think that the girls didn't like each other. That wasn't the case at all, however. Because they lived together and spent nearly all their time with one another, they occasionally got a bit snarky with one another, especially when they were all rushing to get ready for a show. However, they all very much cared for each other, and, even though they'd never say it out loud... because, y'know, vulnerability...they loved each other. They made fun of each other and gave each other a hard time, but the girls were so close they truly felt like sisters.
Thorn quickly slathered on the rest of her makeup and picked up her guitar case, which was sitting by the door.
"Fine. We can do it first, like you're so adamant about." Thorn grumbled. "I guess it doesn't matter that much anyway."
"See, I told you I was right." Dusk teased.
"You just keep telling yourself that." Thorn elbowed her fellow Hex Girl playfully. "Luna, are you ready? We've gotta get to Jack's."
"I'm coming, I'm coming." Luna rushed down the hallway of the girls' apartment, as the other two girls headed down to their vehicle.
Thorn immediately felt a little claustrophobic when getting in the back seat with all their instruments. Their "tour vehicle" as they jokingly referred to it was not a huge bus or limousine; rather, it was a rickety old grey minivan that was constantly on the brink of breaking down. The interior of the car was all scuffed and scratched from their instruments, and the upholstery looked like it had seen better days. It wasn't ideal, but it was all they could afford.
Thorn let out a sigh as she crammed herself between all their instruments and the edge of the seat towards the window. At least the girls took turns driving, so next time, Thorn would be in the front seat and someone else would have to bear the burden of being practically buried in the back seat.
Suddenly, a large thud could be heard, and the cool air that had previously filled the vehicle began turning hot.
"Shit, that's the radiator again." Dusk sighed.
"Maybe it's time to exchange your soccer mom car for an actually reliable vehicle?" Luna jested.
"You know we can't afford that." Dusk reminded. "Besides, I kind of like her. She's my baby."
Thorn knew Dusk was referring to the vehicle, but she also realized that Dusk was only saying that to downplay the fact that she really couldn't afford a new vehicle. Hell, she couldn't even afford to fix the radiator if it broke down, which it had been threatening to do for weeks now.
"Let's go over the set list one more time, just to make sure we're all on the same page." Thorn suggested. "First, it's Hex Girl…"
"I thought that was last!" Luna challenged.
"See!" Thorn sent an annoyed look Dusk's way.
"Fine!" Dusk huffed. "We'll do Hex Girl last."
"That's better. So then, first, it's Earth, Wind, Fire and Air, followed by Who Do Voodoo?, then Good Bad Girls, followed by Love's Curse, and finally, we end with Hex Girl." Thorn revised the setlist.
"Sounds good. I wish we could get booked for longer periods, though. I'd love to have just one show that's longer than a half hour." Luna lamented.
"Yeah, that'd be nice, but honestly, I'm just happy anyone wants to hear us play." Dusk shrugged.
"I suppose. I just wish we'd get more popular. There's only so much you can connect with an audience that's half drunkards." Thorn rolled her eyes. The girls had plenty of experiences with intoxicated audience members hitting on them and making things uncomfortable.
"We're just about at Jack's." Luna pointed out.
"Ugh, there's no fucking parking though." Dusk growled.
"Wait, I see a spot right over there." Luna pointed toward the other side of the road.
"All the way over there? Fine, I guess I'll just have to do a U-turn." Dusk replied in an exasperated tone, as she pulled into the left turn lane.
Unfortunately for them, the light was incredibly long. According to the clock in their car, they had been waiting at least three minutes already.
"C'mon light, turn already! We've got a fucking show to do!" Dusk hissed.
"You know, you're kind of an impatient driver." Thorn teased.
"Only because I don't want us to be late for our show!" Dusk snapped back.
"Maybe it's a good thing we're not doing international tours, then. Just think how stressful that would be compared to some little show in a restaurant!" Luna chuckled.
"Oh, yeah...I guess you're right. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to come off like an angry bitch." Dusk's tone softened.
"I'm just being playful." Luna reassured.
Thorn knew that Dusk struggled with some self-esteem issues, despite the edgy vibe she almost always gave off. The black-haired goth imagined that was what caused Dusk to suddenly become overly sensitive toward Luna's playful remarks.
At long last, the light turned and Dusk was able to execute the U-turn. Just as Dusk pulled into the parking space, she heard a loud siren and flashing lights behind her.
"Fuck." Dusk muttered under her breath.
"What seems to be the problem, Mike?" Thorn tried to smile and put on a polite face for the officer, despite that she was pretty sure she knew what was going to happen. Oakhaven was such a small town that even though she didn't know the police officer well, she had heard of him from her parents. Oakhaven was the type of town where everybody knew of everybody, which in cases like this was more embarrassing than comforting.
"You ladies in some kind of a hurry?" Mike inquired, as he got out of his vehicle and walked directly up to the girls.
"As a matter of fact, we are. We're performing a show tonight at Jack's Restaurant across the street." Dusk's voice was far more hostile and irritated than Thorn's polite facade.
"Well, maybe you didn't see the sign, but it's illegal to make U-turns at this light. This is a heavily driven intersection, and making that kind of turn here could put you or others in danger. I'm afraid I'm going to have to give you ladies a ticket."
"I'm sorry. It won't happen again." Thorn apologized, still trying to be extra polite, despite that she didn't feel they deserved a ticket.
The officer quickly wrote up the ticket and handed it to Dusk, much to her horror when reading the amount they would have to pay.
"50 bucks?" Dusk snapped. "Sir, with all due respect, there are so many worse crimes than this. People steal, kidnap and murder all the time, but we're the ones that get punished for making a stupid mistake?"
"I'm sorry ma'am, but the law is the law." Mike firmly stated. "You ladies seem nice though, so I'll tell you what. I'll drop your ticket down to $25, if you promise to pay closer attention to the road next time, no matter how big of a hurry you're in."
"Thank you so much, we will." Luna nervously nodded.
"You ladies have a good day now." Mike nodded to the three women, as he walked back to his vehicle.
"I'll give him a promise." Dusk muttered when the officer was out of earshot. "I promise to put my combat boots straight up his ass if he ever gives us another bullshit ticket again for something as stupid as that."
"Dusk, relax. It's shitty that we got a ticket, but at least he didn't charge us full price." Thorn pointed out. "Besides, we've got a show to get to."
The ticket would definitely be hard for the girls to cover. None of them had jobs outside of music, so they made just enough to cover the rent, food, gas, and a little extra for any emergencies (or fun opportunities) that might arise, but they certainly didn't have money to burn.
"Maybe it's finally time for us to think more seriously about getting those jobs we've been talking about since we moved out." Luna suggested, as she put in her fake fangs for the performance. Luna's father was a dentist who had made the girls each fake fangs to increase their vampiric aesthetic, which they wore to every show. "We can barely afford anything as it is."
"You know we'll have much less time to focus on making music if we get second jobs." Thorn argued. "I still say we can make this work. We all want our main focus to be on music, right?"
Dusk and Luna both nodded.
This was a recurring conversation for the girls. Ever since they moved out, they constantly went back and forth on whether they needed to get second jobs, but they always ended up deciding they didn't need to. While Thorn and Luna's parents would be more than capable of helping their daughters financially, both of them felt it was best for their daughters to fully support themselves so they could become self-sufficient. Dusk's parents, on the other hand, were incredibly rich and could absolutely afford to support all three girls. However, their refusal to do so was based on disapproving of their daughter becoming a musician. They constantly berated Dusk about choosing a "garbage career" that would never allow her to have a reliable source of income. In fact, her parents regularly compared Dusk to her three sisters, all of which were currently in successful careers. Thorn presumed that led to some of the self-esteem issues Dusk struggled with...well, that and the fact that expressing emotions was discouraged and often ridiculed in Dusk's family. It was no wonder Dusk became steadily edgier and tougher as she grew up.
"Well it's settled then, isn't it? We don't need second jobs and can still fully devote ourselves to music." Thorn optimistically decided.
"We're gonna be late if we don't get going." Luna agreed. "Let it go, Dusk."
"Fine. I'm still pissed that we're going to have to spend half our commission money last night on this stupid crap." Dusk harrumphed.
Thorn decided not to focus on the negativity and instead enjoyed the beautiful scenery around her as she walked across the street to Jack's. It was a perfect fall day out, with a gentle breeze swaying the couple of trees surrounding the restaurant, all of which donned a colorful array of red, orange or yellow leaves.
Upon arriving inside Jack's, the girls were greeted by warm, familiar surroundings. Jack's had a classic diner feel to it, from its checkerboard floors to the cushioned booths spread all across the restaurant. There were also a few tables in the restaurant at the far back, nearby the small makeshift stage Jack had set up for them. On the opposite side of the restaurant was the kitchen and a number of booths.
"Hello, girls!" Jack grinned jovially. "How's life been treating you?"
Thorn couldn't even imagine what it would be like to see Jack angry or sad, because he was that type of person who seemed legitimately in a perpetually good mood. Given this, Thorn didn't want to bring his mood down by complaining about the ticket they had just received.
"We're doing great, Jack! How are you?" Thorn inquired.
"Oh, just fabulous!" Jack chuckled in the goofy, lighthearted way that he always did. "I've got the little stage all set up for you, so you can start performing whenever you're ready!"
"Thanks, Jack." Luna smiled, as she helped Dusk haul in their instruments.
Thorn looked around the restaurant to see a very meager audience of people, comprising around ten groups. Many of the groups were just couples eating together, but a few were families that had brought their children along. Thorn's eye caught one group of three girls about her age, one of which stood out due to her bright pink hair. Thorn figured most of them weren't even there to see them sing; they probably just happened to be eating there while the girls were scheduled to perform.
Nonetheless, the girls finished setting up their instruments as Jack stood in the middle of the restaurant to make the announcement they were about to start the performance. Luckily, the place was small enough where he could easily have his voice heard by everyone in the restaurant.
"Alright everyone, we've got a very special treat for you tonight! Now presenting Oakhaven's very own eco-goth band, The Hex Girls!" Jack introduced.
Thorn got up on stage with her fellow Hex Girls and let out a sigh that was inaudible to the audience, before exclaiming "Are you guys ready to rock?"
Thorn didn't even really notice if her comment was met with any cheers or not, she was too busy thinking about how unlike herself she sounded saying that.
As much as Thorn loved performing her music for the world to hear, she also felt a dissonance within her stage persona and herself. It felt like she was playing a "character" sometimes. Though she felt bad about it, she knew that's what she had to do, because her true personality would never be as edgy or as interesting as the fans wanted it to be.
Thorn knew Luna also struggled with shyness. Even though Luna was usually open with her two best friends, she was typically more reserved with others she didn't know very well. Compared to how heavy Thorn's own problems felt, the black-haired singer wished being shy was the biggest of her worries. Luna just was having a little trouble expressing her true self, whereas Thorn sometimes felt she was pretending to be someone she wasn't.
Taking a deep breath, Thorn prepared her mind and her voice to do what she loved most: sing.
"We're gonna put a spell on all of you!" The Hex Girls threatened, as they concluded their performance.
The girls were met with some modest clapping. The applause wasn't super enthusiastic or overjoyed, but rather, clear affirmation that they had done a good job. While Thorn sort of wished all their performances were met by screaming crowds and excited cheers, she was at least satisfied with getting some sort of engagement from the audience. As per usual, a few people came up and said they did a good job, or gave them a few dollars as a commission for a job well done, but it was rarely ever much.
An older gentleman got up from his booth and came over to the girls.
"Those were some groovin' tunes, young ladies." the old man awkwardly tried to relate to them. "With a little practice, you'll be as good as...oh, who do all the young people listen to these days? Don Knotts?"
"Don Knotts is an actor, not a singer." Thorn corrected, while trying to still be polite to the man.
"Oh, well, anyway, you girls did great! I was just telling Martha that you practically had me tapping my foot in my seat!" the old man informed. "Well, have a good night, young ladies."
A few more people came up and simply told the girls they did a good job, and a few more gave them money, but that was about the extent of the praise.
"Well, decent night, huh?" Thorn tried to be positive, despite the audience's engagement being even more lackluster than usual tonight.
"Oh yeah, it was incredible." Dusk said sarcastically. "A guy told us if we tried a little harder, we could sound like Don Knotts...what a glowing compliment! My entire life is now complete!"
"At least he said something." Luna shrugged. "He could have spit in our faces."
"Are you girls hungry?" Jack inquired. "I'm sure you must be after that big performance, so I cooked up some burgers for you!"
Thorn looked in their commission jar, and saw only 12 measly dollars. Not even enough to pay for the parking ticket they'd gotten tonight.
"Thanks Jack, but I think we'll pass. The money's looking a little light tonight." Thorn held up the few dollars they had gotten, so Jack could see.
"Nonsense, girls! It's my treat! For being so generous and performing here tonight!" Jack smiled.
"Okay, if you insist." Dusk agreed.
"I could eat." Luna meekly said.
"That's very kind of you, Jack. Sure, we'd love to have some food." Thorn warmly responded. She found it sweet that Jack was acting like the girls hadn't been the ones to convince him to play there. It seemed like a logical place for them to play, given the girls already ate there every week, and Thorn's father had taken her there regularly as a kid. Given they knew Jack so well, he was more than happy to be supportive of their band and provide them with a place to play every few weeks.
"Coming right up!" Jack rushed in the back to grab burgers for the girls.
Just as Jack left, Thorn caught the eye of the same group of girls she'd noticed before. It appeared they were coming over to say something. One of the girls had bright pink hair and wore all black clothing, even down to the studded combat boots on her feet. Another girl had black hair and wore a t-shirt with a black and pink skull on it, and the third had blonde hair and wore a tank top reading "Nightmare," which Thorn assumed was the name of a band.
"Hey, I just wanted to say that you girls killed it tonight." the pink-haired girl complimented.
"Yeah, that was one of the best performances we've ever seen!" the black-haired girl agreed.
"Thanks!" Thorn smiled.
"We'd love to have your autographs, if you have a moment." the blonde-haired girl chimed in.
Autographs? The girls had never been asked for anything like that before. They were just a small-town band that not very many people knew about. Sure, people complimented their performances sometimes, but they'd never been asked to sign anything for adoring fans before.
"Of course!" Luna's eyes lit up.
The blonde girl handed The Hex Girls a piece of paper, while the black-haired one offered them a pen. As Dusk took the pen and began signing the paper, Jack returned from the back with three burgers.
"Here's your burgers, girls! Enjoy!" Jack jovially informed. A chorus of "thanks" ensued from the three famished girls.
Thorn was the last to sign the autograph, as Luna handed the paper and pen over to them.
"Woah, I can't believe we just got autographs from The Hex Girls! Thank you so, so much!" the pink-haired girl exclaimed, as she and the other two girls scurried back to their booth in excitement.
"I didn't realize anyone liked us quite that much." Luna observed.
"Maybe they saw our show at the Autumn Festival?" Thorn shrugged.
The Autumn Festival had been the girls' most attended show to date. People came out in droves to watch the show, given the Autumn Festival was the town's most popular event of the year. Overall, the concert was a bit clouded by the crazy events that directly preceded it, including Thorn's father being in on some publicity stunt cooked up by the mayor to make it seem like the ghost of a dead witch, Sarah Ravencroft, had returned from the grave, followed by the ghost of Sarah Ravencroft actually returning from the grave with the help of her batshit crazy ancestor. Though the girls looked back on the Autumn Festival concert with incredibly fond memories, it had been perverted in more ways than just a witch's ghost trying to destroy the town. The well-attended concert had almost become a metaphorical bar that the girls felt they needed to hit, which as a result caused their local shows to feel the slightest bit unfulfilling. As much as Thorn loved writing and creating music, she'd be lying if she said that it didn't sometimes get lonely.
The girls hungrily inhaled each of their burgers, as they reminisced about that strange time where for just a moment they were a little bit famous, and how they wished it could happen again (well, except without the part about the homicidal witch, of course).
"Ready to head out, sisters?" Luna asked.
"Yeah. I need some fucking sleep." Dusk yawned.
"See you later, Jack. Thanks for everything." Thorn waved.
"I think you girls are the ones I should be thanking, for offering to perform here tonight!" Jack answered. "Drive safe, and I'll see you girls again real soon!"
"Oh hey, it looks like someone forgot something." Luna pointed to the floor. It appeared to be some sort of see-through crystal attached to a necklace.
"That's weird." Dusk commented, picking up the necklace in her hand. "Jack, did you see who this necklace belonged to?"
"No, I've never seen it before!" Jack replied.
"Hmm...this is actually a pretty neat crystal. I think I'm going to keep it." Dusk put it around her neck.
"Dusk!" Luna scolded. "That isn't yours, you can't just take it!"
"Geez, relax! Jack says he didn't know whose it was, so there's no way to know who it belonged to." Dusk defended herself.
"Okay, but it's your fault if you make one of our concertgoers sad." Thorn teased, as she opened the door to exit the diner. "Goodnight, Jack."
"See ya later, girls!" Jack smiled, as The Hex Girls left to return to their apartment.
Even if their shows weren't super successful, it always felt like Thorn was coming down from an emotional high when returning home from a show. Thorn let out a light sigh as the car pulled into the driveway next to their apartment. Same old beat-up, bumpy driveway they had to drive through to get to their parking spot. Same flickering lamp post, which never seemed to get fixed. Same graffiti spray painted on the side of the building's wall, reading "fuck the fuckery." Thorn always wondered what exactly the person writing that had meant, as "fuckery" was such a subjective word. Maybe the person was dissatisfied with the current state of the government. Perhaps they were frustrated about how expensive gas prices were getting. Hell, maybe they were just in a bad relationship and wanted to express their hatred for their partner in the most extreme way possible. Regardless, Thorn would likely never know, but it intrigued her creative mind to try to understand other people's musings.
While Thorn was momentarily lost in her own thoughts, Dusk had pulled into their usual parking spot.
"Damn, I don't want to carry that drum set all the way up the stairs so late at night. It's heavy as fuck." Dusk lamented.
"Well, if you don't, someone's going to break into the car and steal it." Luna said, without a hint of sympathy present in her voice.
"Fine." Dusk harrumphed. Thorn didn't know what she was expecting, given all of them always carried their instruments up every time they had a show. Perhaps Dusk was just in a particularly bad mood today. In her defense, the apartment elevator was also currently broken, meaning they'd have to haul their instruments up several flights of stairs.
Dusk and Luna grabbed their instruments out of the back, freeing Thorn from being wedged up against the door so she could do the same. As the girls began their long trek up the dark staircase with their instruments, Thorn hoped she would have a dream as good as she had last night.
After eating breakfast and getting ready for the morning, Thorn grabbed the car keys to their soccer mom minivan and headed off to the arcade. As much as she loved the company of Luna and Dusk, she also loved her alone time where she could go off somewhere and simply exist in her own solitude for a little while. Of course, there were other people in the arcade, but she could easily tune them out in favor of a pinball machine based on The Wizard of Oz, which was her favorite game at the arcade. The simplicity of playing an old school video game brought her a lot of joy, and allowed her to turn her mind off to the busyness of the rest of the world. Thorn even felt that it increased her creative drive some days. It was easy to get caught up in the loud noise of the world, but focusing on a single, simple task relaxed the eco-goth musician in a way that no other hobby quite did.
After playing the game by herself for about an hour, Thorn went back to the apartment, so she could start her daily writing session. Sometimes, the girls all wrote lyrics together in their living space, but there were also times when they would each go into their rooms and write individually. It really all depended on how creative they were feeling that day. There were times where it helped to bounce ideas off Luna and Dusk, but sometimes, the disagreement over simple, picky details like the placement of a word, or rearranging notes, became bothersome and distracting. There was also the issue of the space just being generally small, given the living room only had two grey armchairs and a tan couch to sit on.
The girls were in the process of making their first album. It was a much harder thing to do than it sounded it would be...just write a dozen or so songs, record them, and viola, you had your album, right? Thorn didn't know how this process exactly went for other artists, but they had immense trouble putting an album together. Every time it felt like they got close, they'd realize a song or two stood out from the rest in a negative way, or they'd want to change a certain line or lyric so their CD was absolutely perfect. All of this resulted in their first CD taking forever to put out, because they were never quite satisfied with the final product enough to put it out into the world. It was quite frustrating.
Today had been one of those days where writer's block was being a real bitch, and Thorn couldn't think up a lyric or melody to save her life. When she was younger and aspired to be a musician, she always thought professional artists who made music for a living never had any trouble thinking up catchy lyrics or songs. Boy, was she ever wrong. While there were days where the girls were on fire creating catchy melodies and memorable lyrics that would connect with even the dullest of audiences, there were just as many days where they would spend hours obsessing over the right word or a certain note to use. It was a delicate balance trying to stay true to your band's style while also writing music that would resonate with a large audience.
"'A hex of love on your heart' is so dumb and corny." Dusk complained. "If we play that lyric, it's going to sound like we're trying to appeal to kindergarteners."
"It's not corny!" Thorn defended. "It describes how love can take over you and makes you behave in ways that you never thought you would, while also referencing our band name."
"I'm with Thorn on this one." Luna agreed. "It's a solid lyric. It should be kept in the song."
"What if we remove 'of love' and just say 'a hex on your heart'?" Thorn compromised. Even though she liked the other lyric better, she felt a responsibility to take Dusk's objections seriously, given she was a part of the band too.
"Ooh, I really like that!" Dusk nodded.
"Yeah, me too!" Luna replied in solidarity.
"I think we've got ourselves a complete lyric then." Thorn acknowledged. "Now we just have to write the rest of the bridge."
"That'll have to be another day, though." Luna pointed at the clock, which was hanging by a single nail on the wall of their apartment's kitchen. "We've got another show in an hour at Lester's."
"Ugh, that dingey bar and grill? I hate that place." Thorn sighed.
"That place is paying us to perform, though." Dusk reminded. "Besides, I kinda like it. We always meet some entertaining people there."
"Yeah, if by 'entertaining' you mean disgusting and annoying." Thorn rolled her eyes. "Last time we went in there, guys were hitting on us the whole time!"
"I don't like it any better than you do, but it's a paycheck." Luna shrugged.
"I guess." Thorn sighed, as she stood up from the couch, as Luna and Dusk also got up from their respective armchairs. "Can I use the bathroom to get ready first this time, or do either of you need to get in there?"
"You can use it." Luna agreed. "I call dibs on it afterwards."
"Ah man, I was gonna call dibs! Fine though, I'll get ready in there last. Just don't take too long." Dusk pressured.
"I won't. Luna's the one who always takes too long." Thorn teased, causing the redhead to blush.
The Hex Girls arrived at their destination: the not-so-glamorous Lester's Bar and Grill. Although the place advertised itself as being for both families and people who wanted to destroy their livers (granted, the last sentiment may have just been Thorn's interpretation), few people wanted to subject their families to such grime. The caliber of the bar patrons was about as low as you could get: aggressive, mean drunks who would antagonize anyone they could just for the fun of it.
"Someday we'll get to perform in more prestigious places than bars, restaurants and coffee shops." Luna hoped.
"Let's hope someday soon. I'm not even really looking forward to this show tonight." Thorn sighed. "Isn't the whole point of making music to share it with others so they can relate to it? These drunk bastards probably couldn't relate to their own mother."
"Well yeah, but sadly, that's not the way the world works. You've gotta start off at the most abominably crappy place you can think of, then if you're good enough, you'll be able to move slightly up in the world." Dusk replied.
"That's a really sad way of thinking about it." Thorn looked a bit disappointed by Dusk's grim sentiment.
"I'm just being real." Dusk shrugged, as she took her drum kit out of the back seat and began hauling it into Lester's.
Thorn tried to purge Dusk's horribly depressing thought from her mind, as she followed the blonde into Lester's with her guitar.
Lester's was just as bad as they remembered it. The floors were dirty and sticky; there were only a few lamps in the corner for lighting; and worst of all, the customers mostly looked like drunkards who were just looking for an excuse to cause trouble.
"What do you chicks want?" a deep voice snapped.
"Umm, we were hired to play here tonight." Luna said, a bit nervous due to the man's confrontational remark.
"We're The Hex Girls." Dusk stated more confidently.
"Oh yeah, Lester told me about you. The name's Micucci, Fred Micucci to be exact." The man introduced himself. "Not to be confused with Frank Micucci, my brother who just became a teacher at some boardin' school."
Thorn thought it was a bit of an odd detail for the man to mention, but she was thankful he was at least kind enough to introduce himself.
"Lester ain't here tonight, so he said I could pay ya. Here ya go." Fred handed Dusk an envelope, which she immediately opened.
"Only 50 bucks?" Dusk snapped. "Lester said it'd be two hundred."
"Oh yeah, he said to tell ya about that too. See, the Board of Health fined him when they found rats in the bathroom, so the budget for performin' acts had to be cut." Fred explained.
"No worries." Thorn politely smiled, even though she was pretty pissed about Lester's lack of communication with them about this.
"Lester said ya could perform right up front, like usual." Fred pointed to the makeshift stage that was set up in between the bar and grill sections. There wasn't much glamor to speak of: the stage simply consisted of tape on the floor, microphones, a couple amplifiers and a cheap looking sound system.
"Okay, thanks." Thorn gave her gratitude, despite not having much given the shoddy arrangements that were made for them.
"No problem. I always love supportin' local bands." Fred shared, before shifting his conversational tone to a louder one to address the audience. It didn't seem like there was much of an audience tonight: around ten people at the bar who looked like they had already had a few too many, and a couple of people eating at the grill. Not exactly a dream crowd.
"Now presentin', The Tex Girls!" Fred announced to the crowd through the microphone.
"No, we're The Hex Girls." Thorn corrected in a sassy way, with a strike of her guitar strings to turn the embarrassing mistake into an empowering moment for the band.
"Oh yeah, I guess you're right." Fred nonchalantly corrected. "Now presentin', The Hex Girls!"
"Alright, let's do this!" Thorn shouted to hype up the crowd.
Once again, Thorn could feel herself separating from Sally. As much as she hated it, it's what had to be done.
As she started to play, Thorn had to hold back the tears in her eyes. This is exactly the kind of thing she didn't want when she got into music. While screaming crowds and thousands of excited fans was her dream, she'd even go for a group of ten people who gave a shit about her performance. These people looked like they didn't care about anything other than drowning their sorrows at the bottom of a cup. This was an absolute nightmare for her, and was the antithesis of what she wanted as a musical artist. She just kept holding onto the dream that someday, The Hex Girls would be big…or even moderately well-liked among a small group of people…and they could leave all this trash behind.
With an inhale, Thorn held in the cry she felt coming on, and let the last remnants of Sally go as she began to sing.
"We're gonna put a spell on all of you!" The Hex Girls sang in tandem, as Dusk made the final tap on her cymbal.
"Just show us your boobs already!" a drunken audience member shouted inappropriately.
"No!" Thorn snapped, covering her breasts by folding her arms over them in attempt to obscure the boorish man's view.
"Why don't you show me your ass, so I can put my foot up it?" Dusk growled.
"Ladies, ladies, calm down! I'm sure he didn't mean anything!" Fred defended the man, which Thorn assumed was likely because the man was a regular patron.
"The hell he didn't." Dusk feistily sassed.
"Just leave it alone, Dusk." Luna put her arm on the seething blonde's shoulder to calm her.
"Yeah, the show's over anyway, so let's just go. This stupid guy isn't worth our time." Thorn gave her drunken harasser a dirty look.
"If this stupid place asks us to perform again, I'm never coming back." Dusk threatened, as she picked up her instrument and began to storm out. Luna was right behind her, as was Thorn. The girls were just about to leave the bar when they noticed the same fans that had asked for their autograph at Jack's last night.
"Oh my gosh, hi!" the black-haired girl excitedly yelped.
"Oh, hi again!" Thorn waved.
"Don't look now Dusk, but it looks like we found the owners of that necklace after all." Luna teased.
"My necklace? You guys have it? I've been looking for it everywhere!" the pink-haired girl revealed.
"Aww man, do I have to give it back?" Dusk playfully whined.
"Of course you do!" Luna snapped, apparently missing the whimsy in Dusk's voice. "It isn't yours."
"You guys must be pretty big fans if you came to two of our shows in a row." Thorn pointed out. "I don't think we've ever had that happen before."
"We actually just came in." the black-haired girl informed.
"We didn't know you'd be playing here tonight." the blonde stranger added. "I'm really glad you were, though."
"We were here long enough to see what happened with that drunken asshole, however." the pink-haired girl sneered. "Sorry you had to deal with that."
"Yeah, that guy's always trying to cause trouble. We're regulars here, and we've seen him do stuff like that time and time again." the blonde rolled her eyes. "Don't pay him any mind."
"Thanks." Thorn's mouth began to form the shape of a smile. Having random strangers stick up for them felt quite nice for a change. Clearly, the girls were quite interested in the eco-goth band and their music, so Thorn thought she'd be friendly and get to know them a bit. "Do you want to sit down and chat for a moment?"
"Oh my gosh! A chat with The Hex Girls?" the pink-haired one gasped. "This is not real life!"
"We'd be so honored!" the black-haired girl answered for her friend.
"Here's your necklace, by the way." Dusk finally handed over the crystal jewelry.
"Thank you so much." the pink-haired girl immediately put it on. "This necklace is so special to me."
"Is there any particular significance behind it?" Thorn inquired.
"Yeah, it was given to me by my mother. Supposedly, it has magical powers that bring good luck to anyone who wears it. I'm not sure I believe in that stuff, but I love the sentiment of it." the pink-haired girl explained.
"Wicked!" Luna exclaimed. Given how much she was into astrology and spiritual energies, that type of 'good luck charm' stuff was right up her alley.
"So, what are your names?" Dusk asked.
"I'm Nia." the black-haired girl was the first to speak.
"Samantha." the blonde spoke, before giving a post-script type explanation. "Everyone calls me Sam, though."
"Bridgit." the pink-haired girl said. "It's so nice to get to meet you guys finally! We've been such big fans for so long."
"How did you become fans of us, if you don't mind me asking?" Thorn questioned. "We never really hear from any of our fans…maybe because we don't really have any."
"Oh come on, girl." Nia teased. "You have tons of fans, you just don't know it."
"We're super into music. Bridgit's dad actually works for a record label, so he's got a lot of connections." Sam explained.
"We first heard you perform at the Autumn Fest last year, and from there, we fell in love with your music." Bridgit finally answered Thorn's original question. "Who wouldn't love such a talented band that basically inspired the eco-goth music genre?"
"Hardly." Thorn lightly chuckled. "We made up the term eco-goth to define our music as a whole new sound, but we're not famous enough for anyone to actually be inspired by us."
"Why do you guys keep saying you're not famous?" Nia challenged politely. "So many people loved your Autumn Fest performance."
"Yeah, everyone says it's the best we've ever had." Sam agreed.
"We never really took off from there, though. We're still a local band, and while maybe it got us a few more fans, we're still playing all the dingey bars and hipster coffee shops." Dusk counterargued. "No one seems to really give that much of a crap about us."
"Well, we can change that." Sam ambiguously stated.
"How's that?" Thorn quirked an eyebrow to show her skepticism.
"Like Sam said, my dad works for a record label. He's got all sorts of different connections, so I can talk to him about your band tomorrow. Maybe you could even come with to give him a performance, in case he needs some extra convincing." Bridgit offered.
"Seriously? You'd do that for us?" Dusk gasped in surprise.
"Absolutely." Bridgit smiled. "You guys are so fucking talented, and the world deserves to see that. Besides, it's no trouble at all to talk to my dad. He loves discovering new talent in the music industry."
"Wow. I'm...speechless. Thank you so much." Thorn's jaw dropped a little.
"It's our pleasure." Bridgit warmly replied.
"So, since we've got the one and only Hex Girls here, we'd love to talk music with you guys! What other artists are you into?" Nia asked.
As The Hex Girls began talking to their newly declared three biggest fans about the music they liked and what artists inspired the girls, Thorn tried to process what had just happened to them. She couldn't quite believe that three strangers would not only express such huge praise for the band, but even offer to help them put themselves out there in the music industry so they could gain some fame. Thorn was incredibly grateful for these three new strangers that had come into her life, and she had the feeling that maybe this was, at long last, the start of something better for The Hex Girls.
I really hope you're enjoying this fanfic so far! For this story, I wanted to stay as true to The Hex Girls' original appearance from Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost as possible, so I decided to take the girls' story back to its roots: where they're just a small-town band in Oakhaven, like the mayor mentions in the film. Jack, the restaurant owner who was also in the movie, will be a supporting character throughout the fanfic. Though I did mention Vampire Rock, which appeared in a subsequent film featuring The Hex Girls (Scooby-Doo and the Legend of the Vampire) I wanted it to just be Thorn's dream, at least for the time being, to stay true to the roots of how The Hex Girls were portrayed in their original appearance.
I also had Dusk and Luna's real names be Jane and Kimberly, to reflect the names of the actresses who voice the girls. This is consistent with what a few other writers have done in their Scooby-Doo fanfics, based on some names made up in a Hex Girls blog post from 2009, so I thought I'd just continue that.
There were a few other miscellaneous references I included, namely that the name Nightmare on the t-shirt Bridgit was wearing is a reference to the band that appears at the roller disco in The Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show episode "The Neon Phantom of the Roller Disco!". Lester's Bar is also named after the conspiracy-believing man that the gang stays with in Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders.
If you've read my previous work, you'll know that Don Knotts has been included in every single one. Even though this fanfic isn't silly like my previous two, I still had to slip that reference in somehow haha.
Speaking of my other fanfics, Lester's employee Fred Micucci mentioning that his brother works at a boarding school is a reference to Coach Micucci, a sleazy, rough-around-the-edges coach that worked at Grimwood's Finishing School in my Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School fanfic Fangs for the Memories.
If you're looking for some other good Hex Girls fanfics, I would highly recommend It's a Hex Life by Grumpydrawer, which provides backstory on how the girls met and formed the band, going all the way from their high school days to Witch's Ghost through right before the events of Legend of the Vampire. I would also recommend Occult Nights (and its sequel The Treasure of the Regal Hotel) by The Wandering Piney, which has the girls learning about magic and facing an evil supernatural being after a surprising discovery at an occult museum. Both of these fanfics can be found right here on this very site!
This was a huge experiment for me writing something more edgy and dark without any sort of lightheartedness of humor (though there was a tiny bit of dry humor), so I hope I did a decent job with that. I always love hearing constructive feedback about what I'm doing well and what I could potentially do better, so reviews, favorites and follows are always appreciated!
Until next time, bad dreams, sisters!